Lois Karasek, who runs a dog rescue operation from her home, rescued a runaway border collie dog from the highway on January 6. She was just convicted to theft of that same dog that she rescued under Cass County’s new dog ordinance.

After she found the dog, she did attempt to locate the owner and was told by area residents that the dog was often running loose due to frequent escapes. She also spoke with a relative of the dog’s owner and felt the dog would be safer if it stayed in her care.

Although she did return the dog and also wrote a letter of apology to the owners, Cass County Sheriff’s Office issued her a citation accusing her of stealing the dog.

Cass County District Court Judge Paul Deats said under the ordinance, Karasek is guilty of a misdemeanor for taking the dog.

According to the ordinance, if someone other than an animal control officer or the dog’s owner picks up a dog and fails to notify animal control or police within 48 hours of finding the animal, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor, according to Cass County Animal Control Director Patrick Fetherston.

Karasek was ordered to pay a $100 fine.
After the hearing, Karasek said she would likely do the same thing again if it meant protecting an animal from being struck by a car.

In a separate telephone interview, Fetherston said he can understand the need to help a dog that someone fears is in danger of being hit in traffic.

But he said the person has a duty, under the ordinance, to report the lost dog to animal control or police, which apparently Karasek never did.

“Accidents happen. Dogs get out. That’s why we’re here and we have an animal shelter so we can locate an owner,” he said.  (SouthBendTribune)

It’s a sad day when a ‘Good Samaratian’ is penalized for trying to help and do what they think is right.  Sadly, one quick phone call could have solved the problem but I do have to applaud her efforts, who knows what may have happened to Buddy had she not intervened?

I have great respect for those in rescue and it saddens me when they face such consequences due to technicalities.  Most of the time their hearts are in the right place but the law is the law and whether we agree or not, within reasonable limits, we need to do the best to follow it.

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